Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and BlunderOpen this book, and you'll see a full page warning that "the book you are about to read contains nine bizarre and wacky tales that take place in a Greek-tastic myth-o-rific world!!!" And that is very true. This is not a classic mythology at all, but kids will laugh out loud at it. They love the wackiness, the humor, the bright colors. Come take a look at the introduction through the preview on Google Books and you can see what I mean:
by Michael Townsend
NY: Dial Books, 2010
ages 8 - 12
available on Amazon and at your local library
This silly, comic-book style approach to Greek gods will attract kids who don't know Greek myths, and introduce them to characters such as King Midas, Pandora, Pygmalion, Icarus, Hercules and more.
Townsend retells many favorite stories - he's selected ones that lead to definite funny moments. I was expecting King Midas's story, but I wasn't expecting the abduction of Persephone. I mean, a journey to the underworld as funny? You betcha! Especially when Hades' sidekick is called Deadkins, with his zombie eyes and pale green skin. Hades wants the underworld to be full of flowers and hopping bunnies, but it just doesn't turn out like he wants it to. The flowers wither and Cerebus, his three-headed dog, keeps eating the bunnies!
I did notice that the stories lack the emotional resonance that I remembered as a child. Instead, Townsend goes after the laughs and would be a great way to get kids wanting to read more. If kids want to explore other retellings, check out George O'Connor's graphic novels focusing each on one god or goddess, such as Zeus and Athena (Hera will be published soon). Our students are also really enjoying these more intense tales of the Greek gods.
The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.
Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.